Fla. Woman Mauled By Two Cheetahs

Two young cheetah brothers lie in the grass in their area of the Philadelphia Zoo
AP
Wildlife officers are investigating after two cheetahs mauled a woman at a wildlife sanctuary in Florida.

Judy Berens, who owns and operates the Panther Ridge Conservation Center near West Palm Beach, has been hospitalized after the two animals attacked her during an exhibition Saturday.

CBS Affiliate WPEC reports that Berens was airlifted to the Delray Medical Center with about 40 puncture wounds on her torso, arms and legs.

The sanctuary provides homes for exotic cats.

Witnesses say Berens was alone in an enclosure with two male cheetahs conducting an exhibition when a ball bouncing nearby distracted one of the animals.

Witnesses say Berens was knocked down when the cheetah moved toward the ball. They say the cheetah then started biting and clawing her. The other cheetah attacked shortly after.

Several people entered the enclosure and rescued her.

"Anytime you work with animals, and I don't care what it is, I don't care if it's domesticated animals, wild animals, there is always a risk factor," wildlife sanctuary curator David Hitzig told WPEC. "And yes, there is a greater risk factor when you're working with large, wild animals."

Officials say it appears there were no laws broken. The animals remain on the property in cages.